For a man who’s retired, Philip Roth is still oddly present in the literary world. Ever since he announced his intention to quit writing, he’s made a stream of public appearances, including an awards ceremony at Yaddo one week after claiming he’d never appear on stage again. So what gives? In The Baffler, J.C. Hallman explains why writers can never really quit, in a piece that nicely complements our own take on literary retirement. FYI, Hallman has written for us.
Admit it, at one point or another you had a certain idea of what a writer’s life looks like. What comes to mind when someone says “I’m a writer?” You may picture a struggling hipster artist who lives in a smal apartment with books everywhere and does nothing but read and write. Rosalie Knecht explores the fascinating idea that we associate certain specific images with the writer lifestyle based off an Anthropologie catalogue. Not convinced? Read it for yourself.
Fans of the French Oulipo movement will know about A Void, the Georges Perec novel written entirely without the use of the letter “e.” What very few readers of any kind know, however, is that in 1939, thirty years before Perec’s novel was published, Ernest Vincent Wright wrote a book in English, Gadsby, that hewed to these same constraints. At The Atlantic, Nikhil Sonnad investigates how this experiment plays out in the book.
As part of the ongoing Miami Book Fair International festivities, WLRN is giving readers a chance to co-author a story with Junot Díaz. Beginning at 5pm today, they will tweet out the first line to a story—provided by Díaz—from their Twitter account. Then readers will use the hashtag “#WLRNStory” to add onto Díaz’s line, and later each other’s lines, and ultimately the entire thing will unfurl before them.
“Symptoms included a frenzy for culling and hunting down first editions, rare copies, books of certain sizes or printed on specific paper.” Lauren Young writes in Atlas Obscura about the phenomenon of bibliomania, “a dark pseudo-psychological illness” that afflicted upper-class victims in Europe and England during the 1800s. And for a first-hand account of more contemporary book theft, read John Brandon on his high school pastime: “The first time was nerve-racking, a rush, but by the third book I was already settling in.”